Herman Wallace, who spent 41 years in solitary confinement in Louisiana, died Friday in New Orleans, three days after gaining his freedom, NPR reports. While already serving a 50-year sentence for armed robbery, Wallace was convicted of the murder of a prison guard in 1974, along with Robert King and Albert Woodfox. The men became known as the Angola 3 for their years in solitary confinement at the Louisiana State Penitentiary, also called Angola. All of them claimed to be innocent.
Last week, a judge overturned Wallace’s conviction on the grounds he had been denied a fair trial because he was indicted by a grand jury comprised solely of men — in violation of the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment. “He knew that it was wrong for women to be excluded from jury service,” says attorney George Kendall, one of Wallace’s advocates. “And there were many times he sat in his cell mystified as to, ‘why is it that I’m not getting relief on this claim?’ Kendall says little has changed for many indigent prisoners over the past 40 years. As for the other two of the Angola 3, Woodfox is still in prisonl, but King was released in 2001 after 29 years in solitary confinement.